May 6th, 2016
Belek welcomes Challenge Tour
Can the Welsh secure a third win in Turkey?
Words: James Greenwood
The European Challenge Tour hits Gloria Golf Club in Belek, Turkey this week as the Welsh target a third straight Turkish Airlines Challenge success (May 5-8).
After successive victories in the event for Rhys Davies and Oliver Farr, Wales will be aiming to maintain their stranglehold on the event with Farr, once again, tipped to be among the leading contenders from the 156-man field after his 2014 success.
Farr said: "The title has been in Welsh hands since the first tournament and hopefully we can continue that. "That’s definitely the goal this week. I’m lucky in that I’ve played the course before. I had a look at it and it’s in great condition."
But it will be no easy task for the Brits as Road to Oman leader, Sebastian Soderberg from Sweden, targets a second victory of the season after his early success in Kenya.
Another player in the field who has fond memories of Gloria Golf Club is Sihwan Kim, who set a course record when he shot a nine-under-par 63 on the Old Course in last year's edition of the tournament.
But it's a different test for the South Korean this time around as the event takes place on the New Course, which was added to the venue in 2005.
The Challenge Tour has become a breeding ground for future major champions and Ryder Cup stars with Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Thomas Bjorn, Edoardo Molinari and Jamie Donaldson among the long list of graduates from the ranks.
Last year was the first time Gloria had staged the tournament at the Old Course - the Michel Gayon-designed par-72 course, which measures up at 6,529m and is regarded as one of the top golf venues in Turkey since it opened in 1997.
The New Course was added to the resort eight years later and has previously hosted the European Seniors Tour Classic and the World Amateur Team Championship.
We are going to be heading out to Belek next week to check out the resort and the facilities, and we’ll be letting you know the SP then.